Handmade decorations are a good way to reduce waste this Christmas. (Facebook: Reverse Garbage)
Christmas brings festivities, food and presents — each of which can mean a lot of waste. But can you reduce that waste by planning ahead?
Reverse Garbage Queensland’s #GiveGood Christmas campaign is encouraging people to think about how to be more environmentally responsible when celebrating.
The not-for-profit group is running Salvaged Stockings demonstrations, showing participants how to make eco-stockings from second-hand materials to give as a gift or as a decoration for the home.
Organiser Kade Hamalainen said the aim was to keep “reduce, reuse, recycle” top-of-mind during the festive season.
“We want to get people to think about the waste that’s involved around Christmas and how we can do better by it,” he told ABC Radio Brisbane.
“You need to plan in advance and plan for the waste afterwards, including food waste.”
Here are their six tips for celebrating a green Christmas:
Buy second-hand first
“If you can buy a good quality second-hand item, you’re reusing it and stopping it from going to landfill,” Mr Hamalainen said.
“It prevents a new item from having to be made and you can buy items that you know are going to be used.”
Look for good quality presents
Mr Hamalainen suggested seeking out higher-quality items while Christmas shopping.
“By buying something of higher quality, it will last longer and can be used more frequently,” he said.
“These items could be new or used items. Look at how they are made and where they were made.”
Use different wrapping paper
Instead of buying new paper, Mr Hamalainen suggested looking for wrapping around the home.
“You can also reuse other things like old t-shirts or old paper — like butcher’s paper — that can be around the house to wrap presents,” he said.
“Also, depending on the paper, make sure you recycle any used Christmas wrap.”
How much of the stuff we use, and throw away, at Christmas can be recycled? (Flickr: jimmiehomeschoolmom)
Make your own DIY decorations
Mr Hamalainen recommended upcycling items from around the home rather than buying new decorations.
“For example, [use] woven bowls made from second-hand fabric or pendants made from old watch parts,” he said.
“And make tree decorations from recycled newspaper and the like.”
Give experiences, not things
When looking at presents, think about doing more with less.
“Positive psychology research has shown that fun, satisfying, social experiences are what makes people happy in the long run,” Mr Hamalainen said.
“Give someone an experience, like taking them out for a meal or a short holiday.”
Gift access over ownership
Buying for the crafty or handyperson in your life?
Mr Hamalainen proposes giving memberships to tool libraries or makerspaces, rather than buying individual tools.
“People can give memberships to a library of things, or a share shed, and then they can use a wide range of items without having to leave things unused on a shelf,” he said.
“It’s like a gift that keeps on giving.”